Former Australia captain Steve Smith said on December 21, he hopes to return to international cricket in time for the 2019 World Cup and is braced for a “hostile” reception from English fans once his ball-tampering suspension finishes.

Smith was facing Australian media for the first time since his teary apology at a news conference at Sydney airport on March 29, when he pledged to “do anything” to make up for his mistake in Cape Town.

Smith, along with former vice captain David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, remains banned from international and state-level cricket in Australia as he serves out a 12-month suspension for his part in the Cape Town ball tampering scandal.

The 29-year-old told reporters it had been tough at times watching Australia play from the side-lines and said he was determined to break back into the side for the May 30-July 14 World Cup and the Ashes beyond that.

Smith recently featured in an advertisement with the local arm of Britain’s Vodafone Group in a campaign that leverages the nation’s ball-tampering shame for marketing purposes.

Local media reported Smith was donating his fee for the advertisement to a local charity for men’s mental health.

The advertisement and Smith’s participation in it was quick to draw mixed responses on social media.

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